Sunday, April 10, 2016

Age or Gender? Either is a Problem

Orange Street News publisher Hilde Kate Lysiak responds to critics who tell her she is too young to be reporting news and should instead be "playing with dol...


I do not take issue with the criticism of Hilde's actual report. Criticism is standard fare for journalist. 


However comments such as the following make my brain want to explode.
          "9 year old girls should be playing with dolls not trying to be reporters."
          "I'm disgusted that this cute little girl thinks she is a real journalist. What happened to tea parties?"
This has less to do with age than it does with "cute little girls" veering away from their social and gender imposed roles. How dare she choose to be Barbara Walters instead of a Disney Princess (awaiting her Prince).
My dear powerful girls you can do what you want to do, be what you want to be, and go where you want to go. It is not your job to make others feel comfortable with your decisions or adequate about their own. 
In the words of Hilde Kate Lysiak:  "There. Is that cute enough for you?" 


Learning is about encouraging interests, curiosity, enthusiasm, and taking risks.  These qualities should be nurtured not diminish.  Our children have all of these qualities when they enter the world, yet somehow we manage to choke it out of them.  
Informally when we tell them you can't, you shouldn't, you're to young/old, etc.  
Formally, saddest of all, when they enter school and are put on a one-size-fits-all conveyor belt of education that offers them little choice or voice and makes them compete against each other in the process.  
It matters not what one's particular talents and gifts to humanity may be or could be.  School is where you will be ranked, sorted, and tracked based on an antiquated system that compare similar, yet uniquely different, individuals exactly the same.  Is it any wonder that our children enter school eager to learn then leave (graduation or otherwise) believing that learning, thus education, is a drudgery that must be suffered through.  
Our children need us to help them in search of their destiny not determine it for them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Some of us are more demonstrative with our emotions while others more stoic.  We often presume to know another by what we observe. However, we must be mindful that emotions, or lack of, are not an accurate measurement of the depth of one's feelings, knowledge, or beliefs.  

Emotions Are Feelings

We are unable to listen to each other for yelling and attacks assaulting our senses on what seems to be a daily occurrence.   Our emotions kick-in.  If the assault is supportive of our beliefs we feel vindicated.  If  our beliefs are being assaulted we we feel victimized.  Feelings are valid but that does not make them fact-based. 

                                                             Emotions Are Not Facts

Our emotions can put blinders on our reasoning.  We can't let trivial things like facts get in the way of how we feel.  Those pushing an agenda use this knowledge to their advantage.  They count on us not recognizing that emotions are filtered by our life experience, are inherently impartial, and can create a high probability of flawed decision making.  

This is not to say that feelings and emotions are inconsequential.  Quite the opposite.  Having emotions are what makes us human and are the driving force for improving the human condition. Using emotion can inspire us to seek improvement in ourselves and betterment of others.  But it is also the force behind much evil that has been perpetrated in the world.

Piped Piper Effect

How humanity progresses depends on rather we can see past our emotions and not fall victim by allowing others to exploit them.  Let's call it the Pied Piper Effect.  When we automatically "fall in line" without critically evaluating and reevaluating our position we run the risk of the Pied Piper Effect. 

The Pied Piper understands a certain stance (usually labeling) will be advantageous to the objective at hand.  By playing to specific emotions we will follow blindly, never questioning, not listening to opposing viewpoints, never admitting the fallacies of others or our own, and being forever loyal.   It is to the Pied Piper's advantage to create an us-against-them mentality.  

Break the Spell

It is time that each of us recognized the Pied Piper Effect.  See it for what it is.  It is about power not service.  It is about building up by pulling others down.  It is polarizing.  It plays on fears not hope.  It does not move us forward.  It does not discriminate based on religion, politics, gender, age, sex, race, culture, city, state, region, country of origin, education level, income level, conservatism, liberalism, or affiliations of any kind.  

The Pied Piper Effect is prevalent because it is the path of least resistance.  Doing what we have always done.  Thinking the way we have always thought.  We must be as diligent in examining ourselves as we are finding imperfections with others.  Step out of our comfort zones. 

Seek and be open to new knowledge, in order to be independent thinkers, and do our best to prevent the Pied Piper Effect.